The Beacon

Blog Tags: Bp Oil Spill

Ocean News: BP Wants Money Back for Overpayments, Obama Has a Big Opportunity to Protect Whales, and More

A group of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas)

A group of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

- Scientists are predicting a slighter larger than average “dead zone” for the Chesapeake Bay this summer, meaning that nearly 2 cubic miles of the Bay will lack the needed dissolved oxygen for fish and crabs. The Gulf of Mexico, on the other hand, is predicted to have average-sized dead zone, caused by excessive nutrient pollution from wastewater and agriculture. The Baltimore Sun


Continue reading...

Portraits from the Gulf: Al Sunseri

Al Sunseri, co-owner and president of P&J Oyster Company.

Al Sunseri, co-owner and president of P&J Oyster Company. (Photo: Oceana / Joshua Prindiville)

April 20 marked the four-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the process of filming a short film about the aftermath of the spill, “Drill, Spill, Repeat,” Oceana staff met Al Sunseri, co-owner and president of P&J Oyster Company. His company has been in business for 138 years. Oceana staff sat down with Sunseri to discuss how the oyster industry is struggling four years after the spill. This is the final story in a three-part blog series that highlights the many faces of the Gulf’s recovery.


Continue reading...

Portraits from the Gulf: George Barisich

George Barisich, a commercial fisherman in Louisiana

George Barisich, a commercial fisherman in Louisiana. (Photo: Oceana / Joshua Prindiville)

April 20 marked the four-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the process of filming a short film about the aftermath of the spill, “Drill, Spill, Repeat?” Oceana staff met George Barisich, a commercial fisherman in Louisiana. Oceana staff sat down with Barisich to discuss his struggle to regain his heath and make a living from the ocean in the wake of the oil spill. This is the second story in a three-part blog series that highlights the many faces of the Gulf’s recovery. Stay tuned for more.


Continue reading...

Portraits from the Gulf: Bonny Schumaker

bp oil spill Bonny Schumaker

Bonny Schumaker flies over the Gulf of Mexico everyday to look for oil stemming from the BP spill. (Photo: Oceana / Joshua Prindiville) 

April 20 marked the four-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the process of filming a short film about the aftermath of the spill, “Drill, Spill, Repeat?” Oceana staff met Dr. Bonny Schumaker, a former physicist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who now flies over the Gulf of Mexico looking for oil stemming from the spill. This is the first in a three-part blog series that highlights the many faces of the Gulf’s recovery. Stay tuned for more.


Continue reading...

Video: BP Oil Spill Aftermath Proves America Needs More Clean Energy

Deepwater Horizon well explosion

(Photo: SkyTruth / Flickr Creative Commons)

Today, just over four years since the BP oil spill, Oceana is releasing a short documentary titled “Drill, Spill, Repeat?” that uncovers the dark history of oil drilling and highlights how Gulf of Mexico communities and ecosystems are still recovering. Take a look below to learn more and to watch this short clip.


Continue reading...

The “Graveyard of the Atlantic” Should Be a Thing of the Past – Not the Future

(Photo: Red)

By Randy Sturgill

The waters off the North Carolina coast are known as the “graveyard of the Atlantic.” Since the 16th century, thousands of ships have wrecked on the area’s deadly capes and shoals. Even today, mariners still dread these places, including familiar places like Cape Hattaras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear.


Continue reading...

Two Years Later: Deformed Seafood and Sick Dolphins

A soapfish in the Gulf of Mexico. © Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

Today marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil spill. Oil has long stopped flowing from the leaking rig, but that doesn’t mean the disaster is over. Local fishermen have been making some off-putting discoveries: nets full of eyeless shrimp, clusters of clawless crabs, and more.

Oil and the dispersants used to break it up are making it into the food chain, which could account for some of these deformities. Al Jazeera has been interviewing people involved in the Gulf seafood business and published the disturbing results of those interviews today.

One fisher told them she is finding crabs "with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within …”

Another said that shrimp numbers have dropped dramatically, and that they see shrimp with tumors on their heads every day. Louisiana fishers have pulled up entire nets of eyeless shrimp. Some crabs have soft or misshapen shells. Fish and shrimp have tumors and lesions.

Such deformities happened even before the spill, but the high number of diseased and deformed animals being found after the spill shock both fishers and scientists. In some areas after the spill, a startling 50% of fish have these lesions.

One scientist said he thought the issues could be traced to chronic exposure to PAHs [a compound found in crude oil] released in the process of weathering oil.

And it’s not just fish that have been affected by oil. Gulf dolphins have been found sick and dead, and the numbers of dolphin carcasses found is likely only a fraction of the total amount of dolphins that were killed by the oil.

The sad state of sea life in the Gulf proves that even long after oil is gone from sight, it is still dangerous. It will take decades for the Gulf to recover from this accident. In the meantime, we here at Oceana are working hard to push for safer energy sources and keep oil drills out of our waters.

Please visit our Stop the Drill page to sign a petition for clean energy and learn more about the dangers of offshore drilling.


Continue reading...

Deep-sea Coral Sickness Linked to Gulf Oil Spill

Deep-sea corals. © NOAA

Even more sad news from the Gulf of Mexico, but this time it runs a mile deep. A new study confirms that the oil that likely caused deepwater coral sickness indeed came from the largest accidental oil spill in history, the Deepwater Horizon.

Back in June 2010, deep-sea coral communities showed signs of severe stress and tissue damage after being covered with heavy mucous and brown flocculent material which was believed to be caused by the spill. This type of ill-health in deep sea corals had never before been documented during deep sea research.

The lead author, Helen White from Haverford College, stated, “We would not expect deep-water corals to be impacted from a typical oil spill, but the sheer magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its release at depth makes it very different than a tanker running aground and spilling its contents.” 

Deepwater corals can live hundreds of years, and they serve as hot beds for marine biodiversity. The deepwater coral communities are habitat for crabs, shrimp, brittlestars and commercially important fish species like red snapper and grouper. These corals can take a long time to recover from damage and in comparison this would be similar to clear cutting patches of ancient redwood forests in California. 

These results are startling in that they show for the first time how harmful deepwater oil drilling is to distant ecosystems even though they are separated from humans by more than 4,000 feet of water. These ancient deepwater corals were likely  already living long before the first oil rigs entered the Gulf of Mexico. If we protect them from more drilling and more spilling they could thrive in a world that moves away from oil to smarter and safer sources of energy, like offshore wind.

Oceana is doing its part by filing a legal challenge against new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. We do not believe that the government has adequately studied the potential impacts of new drilling or the true extent of the biological impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These include the deepwater corals and so many other species that live in the Gulf.

It is also clear that safety measures have not improved to an adequate level. We need your support to continue our efforts to stop offshore drilling and protect important deep sea habitats, dolphins and the thousands of species that are still struggling from oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico. Go to stopthedrill.org to get involved.


Continue reading...

Marking the Oil Spill Anniversary In Washington DC

Oceana was joined by longtime supporters Kate Walsh ("Private Practice" and "Grey's Anatomy") and Aaron Peirsol (gold medal-winning swimmer) in Washington, D.C. today to remember the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. We were also joined by Patty Whitney, a Louisiana resident-turned-activist whose home was affected by last year's disaster.

Along with campaign director Jackie Savitz, and a slew of energetic volunteers, the group served to remind us that offshore drilling is never safe - and that an oil spill could happen anywhere. Check out this slideshow of images from today's event.

 


Continue reading...

Studies Begin to Reveal Effects of Gulf Oil Spill

Caesar grunts, damselfish and amberjacks in the Gulf of Mexico. © Oceana/Carlos Suarez

A week from today marks the one year anniversary of the BP oil spill, and the effects of the spill on the gulf’s ecosystems and wildlife are beginning to come into view, though the full effects won’t be understood for years.

This week the New York Times published an overview of the latest findings. The good news is that although miles of marsh are still oiled and tar balls continue to wash up on beaches, the Gulf of Mexico can thank its oil-eating bacteria for digesting some of the crude oil and the methane gas.

Not all the news is so good, however. Here are some of the latest findings about Gulf wildlife:


Continue reading...

Browse by Date